SCRANTON, Pa. - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 2 partially denied a life insurance company's motion to dismiss a putative class action for benefits under an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan, finding that a section of a state motor vehicle statute "regulates insurance" and is therefore saved from ERISA preemption (Eric Yost, et al. v. Anthem Life Insurance Co., No. 3:16-cv-00079, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101202).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - In a personal injury lawsuit arising out of an auto collision, a trucking industry safety expert may testify that a trucking company's power carrier program did not act as a freight broker, a Pennsylvania federal judge ruled Aug. 3, finding that the expert qualifies to testify on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) related to brokers of property (Francisco Ramos-Becerra and Louisa Ramos v. Ricky L. Hatfield, et al., No. 14-0917, M.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101579).
NEW YORK - The plaintiff in the final bellwether trial in the General Motors ignition switch multidistrict litigation says in an Aug. 2 brief that the automaker should not be able to present expert testimony from a doctor who claims that she was under the influence of drugs when she crashed her car (In Re: General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, No. 1:14-md-02543, Amy Ladon Norville v. General Motors LLC, No. 14-cv-8176 S.D. N.Y.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Allegations of invalidity by FitBit Inc. with regard to a patented system for collecting health, wellness and fitness data with a sensor device were rejected Aug. 4 by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (FitBit Inc. v. BodyMedia Inc., IPR IPR2016-00543, PTAB).
PITTSBURGH - Efforts to enforce a patent against myriad defendant insurers failed Aug. 4 when a Pennsylvania federal judge agreed with the insurer that the patent claims ineligible subject matter and "does not clear" the bar set in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int'l. (134 S. Ct. 2347, 2355 ) (Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Erie Indemnity Company, et al., No. 14-220, W.D. Pa.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102289).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - An Alabama federal judge on Aug. 3 adopted the majority of a magistrate judge's report and recommendation that claims asserted by a property owner against lenders be dismissed but sustained one objection to the report in relation to the borrower's claim for quiet title (James A. Yocum Jr. v. Nationstar Mortgage LLC, et al., No. 2:14-cv-00970, N.D. Ala.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101663).
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A treating physician is qualified to testify as to the causal relationship between a car accident and a man's subsequent surgeries, a Mississippi federal judge ruled Aug. 3, finding that it does not matter that the physician is unable to decide whether the man's need for surgery was the result of the accident (Kelvin Anderson v. United States of America, No. 15-55, S.D. Miss.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101758).
NEW YORK - Uncertain as to whether the claims for which an insured is liable are related to damages to window wall systems themselves or to other property owned by the condominium unit owners, a New York federal judge on Aug. 2 denied summary judgment to an insurer on the duty to defend and indemnify an underlying action (American Home Assurance Co. v. Allan Window Technologies, Ltd., No. 15-5138, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101118).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Aug, 4 granted an insurer's motion for judgment on the pleadings in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insureds' claims were filed after the mandatory two-year statute of limitations and were not subject to the discovery rule (Christopher Azoroh, et al. v. Automobile Insurance Co. of Hartford, Conn., No. 14-1695, D. D.C.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102141).
MILWAUKEE - A federal judge in Wisconsin on Aug. 3 granted an insurer's motion for partial judgment on the pleadings in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that the insurer had a reasonable basis for denying the insured's claim for life insurance benefits (Lowanda Smith v. United of Omaha Life Insurance, No. 15-1344, E.D. Wis.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101726).
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Plaintiffs who think their states' laws allow them to prove their Lipitor claims without expert causation testimony were given 15 days to say so in response to an omnibus summary judgment motion, according to an Aug. 3 order by the South Carolina federal judge overseeing the multidistrict litigation (In Re: Lipitor [Atorvastatin Calcium] Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 14-mn-2502, D. S.C.).
PHILADELPHIA - A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 2 affirmed the grant of summary judgment to General Motors Corp. in a lawsuit alleging that GM unlawfully circumvented the Employment Retirement Income Security Act and the Pension Protection Act with its denial of a woman's Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) because the claims are time-barred and without merit (Marva Jane Richardson-Roy v. Abigail Johnson, et al., No. 15-1914, 3rd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 14051).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida jury on Aug. 4 sided with a trash truck company that was accused of negligence when one of its drivers crashed into a man riding a bicycle, causing him injury (Thomas Truong v. Waste Services Of Florida Inc., et al., No. 2013-CA-00353, Fla. Cir., 9th Jud., Orange Co.).
BOSTON - Four days after plaintiffs complained about the delay, lead counsel in the fungal meningitis multidistrict litigation on Aug. 4 asked the court to approve a draft settlement to resolve federal liens while the parties wait for the federal government to formally approve the pact (In Re: New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc. Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2419, No. 13-md-2419, D. Mass.).
CHICAGO - The Illinois federal judge overseeing the testosterone multidistrict litigation on Aug. 4 identified eight AbbVie heart attack, stroke and blood clot cases for the MDL's first bellwether trials starting next year (In Re: Testosterone Replacement Therapy Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2545, No. 14-1748, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div.).
TRENTON, N.J. - Consequential damages caused by the subcontractors' faulty workmanship constitute "property damage," and water damage from rain flowing into the interior of the property due to that faulty work is an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Aug. 4 (Cypress Point Condominium Association Inc. v. Adria Towers LLC, et al., No. A-13/14, N.J. Sup.; 2016 N.J. LEXIS 847).
BAY CITY, Mich. - An Indian tribe's claim that its health care plan administrator violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act fails because the tribe cannot establish that the administrator had a fiduciary duty under ERISA to ensure payment of Medicare-like rates (MLRs) for certain health services, a Michigan federal judge ruled Aug. 3 in dismissing the claim (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, et al. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 16-cv-10317, E.D. Mich.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101610).
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A group disability policy's three-year limitations provision is not unconstitutional or invalid under Minnesota law because Minnesota's statutes pertaining to the statute of limitations for filing suits do not apply to group policies, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Aug. 2 (Lora Walker v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Co., No. 15-2570, 8th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 13988).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge on Aug. 1 granted insureds' motion to certify a class in a lawsuit alleging that their homeowners insurer unlawfully applied a policy's $1,000 deductible to an actual cash value (ACV) payment in a hailstorm coverage dispute (Eric Lafollette v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-04147, W.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99980).
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A tribunal for the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on Aug. 3 issued a statement giving various updates in two arbitrations commenced against the Russian Federation, noting that a hearing on jurisdiction has been held and that Russia did not participate in the hearing (PJSC Ukrnafta v. the Russian Federation, No. 2015-34, PCA; [i] Stabil LLC, [ii] Rubenor LLC, [iii] Rustel LLC, [iv] Novel-Estate LLC, [v] PII Kirovograd-Nafta LLC, [vi] Crimea-Petrol LLC, [vii] Pirsan LLC, [viii] Trade-Trust LLC, [ix] Elefteria LLC, [x] VKF Satek LLC, [xi] Stemv Group LLC v. The Russian Federation, No. 2015-35, PCA).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Lao Holdings N.V. on Aug. 3 announced that it has filed an amended request for arbitration with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), seeking damages from the government of Laos in relation to alleged breaches of a 2014 settlement agreement that resolved a dispute over an investment in the Laos gaming industry.